You don’t have to be an international powerhouse with expensive business intelligence tools to get a grip on your international sales. Learn how to create a dashboard in Google Analytics for your ecommerce store.
In a lot of ways, Google Analytics (GA) democratizes business analytics. In the pre-GA era analytics tools were complicated and expensive. I get it, for full blown accuracy and high end reporting GA won’t be your go to tool. But with your webshop, you can reach the whole world and you want to get a grip on your sales as soon as possible to find new growth opportunities.
For this post I’ll be using the Google Merchandise Store, which is richly filled with data and is accessible to everybody with a Google account. The year 2019 will be our reference. I hear you thinking ‘But isn’t a dashboard way prettier in Google Data Studio?’. And you are right to think that, because it is true. Data Studio is perfect for when you manage accounts of external clients and want to create a personalized dashboard in the brand logo. I want you to fully grasp all the features GA has to offer before we hop around to other tools.
Defining your KPI’s
It’s easy to get lost in all the metrics available to you. I like to make the analogy with Photoshop, which I’ve also been using for years to create banners etc. There are so many tools and functionalities at your disposal in Photoshop, that it’s easy to get lost in them, wondering where to start and how to get the result you had in mind. Photoshop is good for hardcore designers who need all the aspects of the tools to reach the desired results, but the average user will be just fine with 10% of all the features.
Google Analytics has an innumerable amount of metrics and dimensions, and while it’s awesome at marketing events to impress your peers about you creating a custom segment for logged in users to create new remarketing campaigns, most users will not use these features. They want an easy view on their sales. Just that. You need to ask yourself the following: which metrics do I need to maintain and grow sales?
I made a list of metrics you can use to build your own regional ecommerce dashboard:
- E-commerce revenue per country
- E-commerce conversion rate per country
- E-commerce sales per country
- New users per country
The e-commerce revenue, conversion rate and sales are obvious ones, but you might wonder why do we want to see new users? New users are a valuable metric as we want to make sure we keep generating new users to our website, even if they don’t convert, because maybe in the future they will. A steady flow of new users to our website indicates a healthy store and growing brand awareness.
Building the e-commerce dashboard
When you create your first dashboard you’ll get the option to create a blank or starter canvas. I’m going to start with a blank canvas and will call the dashboard ‘E-commerce Regional Report’. A Google Analytics dashboard is made-up of different widgets. I’m going to use two columns for the dashboard, which can be modified to your own liking in the customise dashboard menu beneath the data selection.
Widget 1 Geomap revenue by Country
The first widget we’ll be implementing is the Geomap. Your lay-out might slightly differ as you are reading this, but I haven;t seen the lay-out change since I started using Google Analytics years ago. When creating or modifying a geomap widget you’ll get different options:
- The widget title which I’ll call ‘Revenue by Country’.
- Standard widgets (metric, timeline, geomap, table, pie and bar chart). We’ve selected geomap.
- Realtime (metric, timeline, geomap, table). We won’t be using the real time widgets for this dashboard.
- Plot selected metric where you can select the dimension and the metric. The geomap countries are selected by default. We’re going to select revenue as our metric.
- Select a region; we’ll set the default to The World.
- Filter this data: we won’t be filtering the data for this widget, but you can filter on traffic source, browser, language, gender, operating system and much more.
After you’ve created the widget, you can hover over the map and get regional specific data.
Widget 2 Geomap Ecommerce Conversion Rate
The second widget, which carries the name ’E-commerce Conversion Rate by Country’, will be the Geomap again, but this time will focus on the conversion rate by country. I’ll use the geomap again and change the metric with ‘E-commerce conversion rate’.
Widget 3 Revenue by Country Table View
A map is all nice, but as an online marketer, or business owner, you want to see the top regions where you generate revenue. To make it visible in one go, I’m going to make a table for our revenue per country. The table view has a nice addition as you can select the amount of rows you want. I’m going to select the top 10 countries by revenue and call the widget ‘E-commerce Revenue by Country’. For the dimensions we’ll use ‘Country’ and as a metric ‘Revenue’.
Widget 4 E-commerce Conversion Rate by Country Table View
We’re going to do the same for E-commerce conversion rate by country. The widget will be called ‘E-commerce Conversion Rate by Country’.
Widget 5 Number of Products sold by Country Geomap
For the following widget we want to create to see how many products are sold per region. We have the metric ‘country’ and the dimensions ‘quantity’ which displays the amount of products we’ve sold. The name of the widget is ‘Number of Products sold by Country’.
Widget 6 Number of Products sold by Country Table View
We’re going to clone the widget and make a table view for the numbers of products sold. As with the previous widget we’re going to set the maximum amount of rows to 10. The name of the widget will be the same as the previous one, ‘Number of Products sold by Country’.
Widget 7 New users by Country Geomap
I’m going to start with the familiar Geomap view and will accompany these widgets later on with table views. For our first new user website we will select ‘country’ as the metric and ‘new users’ as the dimension. The widget will be called ‘New Users by Country’.
Widget 8 New users by Country Table View
We’re going to clone another widget, widget 7 and turn it into a table view. The name will remain the same ‘New Users by Country’ with a maximum of 10 rows.
We got a total of 8 widgets now, which looks like this. I’ve chosen a 25% four column lay-out, but you can play around with different options such as a 50% two column setup or other variants. With this dashboard we already have a high level overview of the sales generated across different parts of the region. I want to go a step further and create a more detailed view into the ecommerce performance. Google Analytics is function over form, as I said in the beginning of the article. It’s pure about the data.
For the following four widgets I want to create the following widgets:
- The average order value by country
- Checkout to purchase rate by country
- Amount of visitors who abandoned the funnel
The above widgets will help us have a clearer picture across the different countries where we generate sales.
Widget 9 Average order value by Country Table View
Apart from all of the above metrics, we can find new growth opportunities by seeing which country generates the most valuable sales instead of the most. You can realize healthy growth by focussing on finding similar audiences in valuable regions. Adding a few of them can unleash a lot of potential for your revenue. The view is table, the dimension will be country and as a metric we’ll use ‘Avg. Order Value’. A maximum of 10 rows will be sufficient.
Widget 10 Checkout to purchase rate by Country Table View
Having a widget that tells us the rate of checkout to an actual purchase helps us in detecting faults in the purchasing process early on. A low checkout to purchase rate can show errors on pages such as elements that won’t load or don’t show. For the widget we’ll be using the table view, the dimension country and the metric ‘Checkout to purchase Rate’. Again we’ll use 10 rows tops.
Widget 11 Amount of visitors who abandoned the funnel by Country Table View
I want to give some depth to the checkout to purchase rate and see how many visitors per country have abandoned the checkout process. It will not only display the amount of failures, but reveal to use which areas we should focus on. It’s important to focus on growth opportunities, but just as important to see where revenue is seeping away.
Widget 12 Average Quantity by Country Table View
The last widget is a fairly simple one. We already have the actual quantity, but I want a more in depth look into the average products sold per country. It will give us greater insight in the regions who are the most interesting buyers. As the dimensions we’ll have yet again ‘Country’ and as a dimension we have ‘Avg. QTY’.
As an e-commerce manager you now have a good overview of the different regions that are generating revenue or where opportunities need to be made. Just a sales performance dashboard won’t be enough though. To get a full overview we should build a technical dashboard which monitors our site performance. Please let me know if you would like to view how I would build a technical website dashboard.
For now we have 12 widgets, which is a good setup for our first e-commerce dashboard. You can automate the dashboard as well to either yourself or your stakeholders. You can select the email address you want to send the dashboard to, the frequency and for how long someone should receive the report. The report will be added as a PDF attachment.
The final report will look something like this. As said I’ve chosen the 25% view, but you may choose a different variant. If you decide to email the report, you should test this configuration, because the PDF has proven notoriously challenging to get right.